A Smartphone Tops the U.S. List of Best Selling Handsets

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For the first time ever, a smartphone has outsold every other handset in the consumer market in the United States. This marks a significant shift in buying trends away from simple but attractive phones to ones with more functionality.

Apple’s iPhone 3G surpassed the Motorola RAZR as the leading handset purchased by adult U.S. consumers last quarter, according to the market-research firm NPD Group. The RAZR had been ranked by NPD as the top-selling consumer handset every quarter for the past three years.

And the iPhone 3G’s success isn’t a fluke. Number 3 on the list of top consumer handsets is another smartphone, the BlackBerry Curve.

“The displacement of the RAZR by the iPhone 3G represents a watershed shift in handset design from fashion to fashionable functionality,” said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for NPD. “Four of the five best-selling handsets in the third quarter were optimized for messaging and other advanced Internet features.”

The top handset models in the third-quarter of this year, based on unit sales, were:

  1. Apple iPhone 3G
  2. Motorola RAZR V3 (all models)
  3. RIM Blackberry Curve (all models)
  4. LG Rumor
  5. LG enV2

Growing Demand for Features

Even if they don’t buy a smartphone, U.S. consumers were increasingly looking for smartphone-like features.

Mobile phones with a QWERTY keyboard experienced a large year-over-year rise in sales: 30% of handsets sold last quarter had this feature, versus just 11% the same period of 2007.

Also, 83% of phones purchased by consumers in the U.S. during Q3 were Bluetooth enabled, versus 72% last year, and 68% of handsets bought in Q3 were music enabled, versus 49% in the same quarter of last year.

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